Stream Data Centers Articles

Bad Dates and Terrible Tours …

Bad Dates and Terrible Tours …

If you know me, you know I like it when we can inject a sense of personality into our work-lives and professional relationships. In any business and in data centers in particular, the human connection is paramount.

I still cringe when people in the data center world spend hours regurgitating ceaseless, one-way dialog during what is purported to be the penultimate relationship-building event – the hallowed ‘Data Center Tour’. Sure, a go-getter salesperson will take the extra step to cut and paste a customer’s logo on the cover page of the slide deck, but that’s often the full extent of the customer-centric effort. The classic bad tour usually features a spiel about the brilliance of the design, the engineering genius of the founder, the length of the copper network if laid end to end, the facility’s 3N+2(BS) design, or the disastrous financial mistake you would make by failing to select them as your provider.

Do I hate tours? Hate is a strong word, but I really, really do not like the bad ones.

Want to know why? Let us imagine two different scenarios—buying a car and going on a date.

If you were buying a car and had done your research, are you really going to want to listen to a sales professional bloviate for 2 hours about the car, the company or the nitrogen in the tires? Probably not. In fact, you might still buy the car, if only to make the salesperson stop.

Now, let’s say you are on a date with somebody who you find attractive and seems good on paper. This person then spends the next two hours sharing stories about themself without ever taking the time to even understand you or what you would like to know. Any chance you are excited about a second date? Nope.

Beyond Annoying: How Does Being Bad at Dating Hurt Service Delivery?

What do overly verbose salespeople and bad dates have to do with data centers? A lot. When you think about other types of real estate, the customer/tenant typically has very little interaction with the landlord after the lease commences.

Think all real estate is the same? Imagine renting an apartment where the landlord’s employees sit in your kitchen on a 24/7 basis to monitor the status of your refrigerator and prohibit access to the electrical wall sockets. Data centers are different because it is not just the facility, it’s the team in the facility. Smart customers are never just vetting the data center. They are also evaluating who the provider is and how their team members will behave after the lease is signed. It’s what makes unfettered access to your operations and customer support team critical for discerning customers and what makes the 2-hour one-way blast from a leasing professional even less relevant.

Yes, data centers are incredibly technical facilities to build and maintain. But any group with deep pockets can hire contractors and support staff to make ownership possible. This is where I believe Stream truly stands out. Following the example of our co-founders, the best way to have happy customers is to listen to them!

Successful providers work to understand what makes the project a success by taking time to understand our customers and how to leverage our experiences and resources to meet them with agreements and service delivery free of surprises. In other words, to be a better partner, you’ve got to be better at dating. Stream is dedicated to putting an end to terrible data center tour “dates”.

Tell us how you feel. Come see how we practice what we preach.

About Our Contributor

Chris Bair

Senior Vice President, Sales and Leasing
As Senior Vice President of Sales and Leasing, Chris Bair brings over 20 years of experience in the data center sector to Stream Data Centers. Read More